George Turner

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 30 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3531
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Changed the way we store and cook chicken

On 3 July 1968 George Turner, director of the Public Health Laboratory Service in Liverpool, received a telephone call from a GP about a suspected outbreak of food poisoning. Several patients had eaten chicken after a tournament at a local tennis club; 11 people were so ill they were admitted to hospital.

With Andrew Semple, the pioneering medical officer for Liverpool, Turner wrote up the case in a paper for The BMJ, describing in minute detail the investigations he undertook into the outbreak. The food served at the meal consisted of quarters of spit roasted chicken, salad, cakes, fruit jelly, and ice cream. “Epidemiological inquiries quickly established that all the affected persons had eaten the chicken, most of them at about 5 pm; some remaining portions of chicken were eaten at about 10 pm; and those who ate the chicken late were among the most severely ill.”

The following day, many of those who had eaten the meal had abdominal pains and diarrhoea. Other symptoms included pyrexia, headaches, rigors, nausea, and vomiting.

Salmonella virchow was isolated as the …

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